Friday, November 4, 2011

New PLCB Chairman in Favor of Privatization

  • Will new PLCB Chairman Skip Brion preside over the agency's demise? 
  • Is Mike Turzai's HB11 the road to the promised land of privatization, or too flawed to survive?
  • Does the PFM report on privatization change anything?
  • Will Governor Corbett step in with his own proposal on privatization?
  • Does anyone other than Hereditary Union President For Life Wendell W. Young IV and State Store System employees ever write anything in favor of the PLCB in Pennsylvania newspapers?
  • Where's Joe "CEO" Conti disappeared to?
 There's so much going on with the PLCB that it's hard to address it in one post...especially when I'm getting back to things after two months of heavy travel and a ton of work. So I'll give it a shot in a couple of posts instead. First: the latest news.

Joseph "Skip" Brion was confirmed as the newest member of the PLCB on Tuesday, Nov. 1, and immediately became Chairman. Brion is a Chester County Republican, a lawyer (what a shock...), and openly in favor of privatization. Brion will chair his first meeting next week, and has said the Board needs to "open itself up and be more in tune with what’s going on at the Capitol." That would certainly be a refreshing change, given how totally tone-deaf the PLCB has been in recent years.

But is anything really going to change because of this? Not likely. Brion may be pro-privatization, but he's still a politician, and that means that when the chips are down, privatization rhetoric aside, he's looking for more of your money -- sorry, more revenue -- to spend on programs of variable worth. So don't expect the high taxes that are the most unsupportable part of HB11 (yeah; more coming on that, and soon) to change.

In fact, Brion has made noises that he's interested in "modernizing" the PLCB. And that makes my heart sink. Because I can tell you exactly what will happen. They'll get some stuff through the Legislature -- how, I'll be damned if I know, because we can't seem to get a simple thing like killing the damned case law through in 20 years! -- and the We-Know-What-You-Really-Need Committee will continue their latest course of buying every single crackpot product that comes on the market (even though no one in the system has the slightest clue on what they are or how to sell them), and they'll make a big stinking deal out of it (spending millions more of your tax dollars on marketing a police-enforced monopoly)...and we'll be satisfied just enough to let privatization fade. And within five years, they'll be back to the same lackadaisical shit job they were doing two years ago before Tom Corbett came along and made privatization an issue and got them scared.

Is that too harsh? Think I don't know what I'm talking about? Well, friend, just cast your memory back to the Chairmanship of Jonathan Newman. Remember that? Back when "Chairman's Selection" actually meant something other than "No one else wanted this stuff, so they cut us a deal on it, and we bought a whole bunch and stuck it in a hot trailer for a while"? Because things were great for a while, and Newman was energized, and enthused, and then what always, inevitably happens at this agency happened: someone noticed a buttload of money, and started screwing with it. And all of a sudden we had Joe Da CEO popped in there -- because he had so much experience in off-premise retail and running a huge wholesaling operation, right? -- fiddling with the knobs and pulling on the strings. And the wheels fell off. If you don't think that exact same thing would happen after "modernization," I've got a bridge to sell you.

Don't fall for it. Stay staunch. Let's get rid of HB11, take Corbett's report, and forge a good privatization bill. Blow open the number of stores, find state jobs for the union clerks, get beer in there, kill the case law, open the borders, lower the ridiculously high taxes, and then watch jobs get created. Watch the restaurants in Philly bloom, watch our already great beer scene blossom, and watch the state catch up to the 21st century. Don't give up now: keep the pressure on your legislators.

More to come. Shortly.

Where's Joe "CEO" Conti disappeared to?


Rich said...

Welcome back Lew. Let me tell you, Brion might be "pro-privitization" but once he starts getting that nice pay check his tune will change.

Lew Bryson said...

Seriously, man, why didn't they try co-opting me with that post! I can tell you, I'm at least as qualified as any of the other board members, and I could use the money!

Anonymous said...

It seems like Corbett is finally moving against the Conti/Stapleton administration of failure. If I were the governor I would have fired Conti the first time he failed to make the annual treasury payment, let alone leaving him in place after the second.

I wonder if the taxpayers can get their money back for the hundreds of thousands of dollars of unsold Tableleaf Conti forced on stores. Or the million dollars we lost on the vending machines. Or the millions he wasted on rebranding. Or the 16 million he went overbudget on replenishment (which is still a problem to this day). Conti, Stapleton, Short and their ilk have generous pensions I'm sure we can use to pay taxpayers back for the money their incompetent and corruption squandered.

hbgonlooker said...

The new chairman needs to clean house in order to get anything done in Pennsylvania. Short is just a useful idiot that blindly agrees with anything Conti or Stapleton puts forth. When it comes to spirits Short’s position is that spirit drinkers are brand loyal and will not try other labels so it is not worth expanding the shelf space. With a new chairman that supports privatization you can bet the good old boys will work hard to undermine the new agenda. The inner circle of PLCB management is the epitome of dysfunction.

Anonymous said...

not just tableleaf there are 5 other brands

Plcb enthusiast said...

Wow where did u get ur info ?